Luton Matters

Bridge over Wardown lake, Luton

PLEASE NOTE: applications for the pilot year 2019-20 are now closed.

Luton Matters is a new initiative in 2019 from The Steel Charitable Trust, designed to assist organisations whose work brings significant benefits to residents of Luton or improvements to the town. The first grants will be made in April 2020. Eventually, grants will be made in each of the Trust’s five funding priority categories (see Grant-making policy) but 2019-20 will be a pilot, in these two categories only:

  • Arts and Heritage
  • Social or Economic Disadvantage

Through Luton Matters, The Steel Charitable Trust will provide grants of up to £90,000 in total over three years, one grant for each of the Trust’s five priority funding categories. There will only be one grant per category running at any one time. The grants will be available by competitive application to support charitable projects that are aimed at improving the lives or opportunities of people who live within the Luton boundary. Where appropriate, preference will be given to projects that are delivered by local people and run by Luton-based organisations.

Eligibility and Purpose of Grant

Applications will be accepted from either

  • Charities registered in any part of the United Kingdom, or
  • Exempt Charities (see schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011), or
  • Community Interest Companies (CICs), or
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs)

Applications must be for grants that will benefit people who live in Luton, and may be for either

  • new initiatives, or
  • on-going projects, or
  • capital works, or
  • research programmes, or
  • core costs

Our usual restrictions apply as to the purpose for which the grant may be used (see Grant-making policy).

Applications will be accepted from organisations that have applied to the Trust before (whether successfully or not) and organisations new to the Trust. If an organisation has received a grant from us in the past under our regular grant-giving programme, there is no time restriction on applying to us again through Luton Matters.

It is unlikely that any organisation that is awarded a grant through Luton Matters will receive another such grant in consecutive cycles, even in a different funding category.

Application Process

There is a four-stage application process. This is not designed to be onerous; its purpose is to ensure that potential applicants do not spend a disproportionately long period of time on an application that has little chance of success. Competition for these awards is expected to be high. If an applicant makes it past the initial stage, they can expect to be in close contact with a Trustee who will advise on the next stages. The final decision will be made at the March 2020 meeting of Trustees at which up to two short-listed applicants in each category will be asked to make a presentation.

1registration of interest form click here to download the form; the completed form should be emailed to
2detailed project plan some applicants who have completed the registration of interest form will be asked to develop their idea further into a project plan (click here to see what we expect in a project plan)
3final application form up to two short-listed applicants will be chosen from the project plans submitted and asked to complete our standard online application form (principally to ensure your application is on our system – you will have already done most of the work to answer its questions by this point)
4presentation to Trustees assuming the final application form is completed satisfactorily and by the deadline, the short-listed applicants will be invited to make a 30-minute presentation (including 10 minutes for questions) to our four Trustees at a Luton venue on Thursday 19th March 2020; a maximum of two people from each organisation is permitted to participate in the presentation

Outline Timetable

31 October 2019deadline for submission of registration of interest forms
(Arts & Heritage or Social or Economic Disadvantage only in 2019)
20 December 2019deadline for submission of project plans (by invitation only)
31 January 2020deadline for completion of final application forms (by invitation only)
19 March 2020presentation to Trustees (time and Luton venue to be confirmed)
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